Space 1889: Wrigglesworth and Pinchback's Majestic Interplanetary Trading Company
(Appropriated from the Intarwebs and only slightly tweaked)
Below are the raw canon sources for everything Vulcanian, including everything pertinent pertaining to their descendents, the Moon Men.
I have not drawn any conclusions from this material as of yet, nor have I included material from the two Challenge adventures dealing with the Vulcanians (“Fist of Allah,” Challenge 47, and “Dwellers in the Dark,” Challenge 52). These two indicate that functional Vulcanian equipment has survived the intervening 300 million years, but as these are not “canon” sources I’m not including them here. However, for the Moon Men’s stasis chambers and other equipment to have survived until a few thousand years ago indicates that this may indeed be the case.
What was once a large planet, named Vulcan by astronomer-historians, orbited the Sun at a distance of 257 million miles. More than 300 million years ago, the world exploded as a natural consequence of its age, to create a band of rocky asteroids that today circle the Sun in an otherwise vacant orbit.
The individual asteroids are gathered in a swarm of chunks revealing a cross-section of the shattered world. Most of the chunks are simply rock or iron or sandstone. Some, however, are surface pieces with evidence of long-lost, long-extinct Vulcanian races, structures, and artifacts. (Space: 1889, p. 129)
Of all the inner planets, only Earth has a companion of any significant size: the Moon, known more properly by its astronomical name, Luna. Luna is 2,160 miles in diameter (6,795 miles in circumference). Surface gravity is only 16% that of Earth. Luna has no surface atmosphere and no surface water, two aspects which make it extremely inhospitable to visitors and difficult to explore without specialized equipment. Occasional expeditions on the Lunar surface have, however, discovered numerous entrances to subterranean (or, more properly, sub-Lunar) grottoes and caverns, and some evidence of habitation. Initial forays into the grottoes discovered that within a mile below the surface of the world, the gravity had risen sharply to an estimated 30% of that of Earth, and that traces of atmosphere are present. Deeper still, the honeycombing caverns of the Moon are inhabited by a few varieties of animals and some fungus-like plants. (Space: 1889, p. 129)
Luna experienced a planetary evolution unique among the worlds of the Solar System. It coalesced from an ancient mass of rock and debris with a high proportion of gases. These gases permeated the molten young planet, and, as the rock cooled and hardened, the gas bubbles remained intact, honeycombing the world. Eventually, these gases leeched out of their separate caverns and combined to become Luna’s subterranean atmosphere. (Space: 1889, p. 140)
Ether flyers used for commerce between Earth, Mars and Venus generally take advantage of the atmosphere of those worlds to get from orbit to surface. Both liftwood and hydrogen help make the vessel “lighter than air,” letting it settle to the surface or rise to orbit using the atmosphere as a buoyancy medium. Luna, however, has no air to be lighter than, rendering liftwood and hydrogen useless. The only alternative for getting to its surface is to use the ether propeller, a device whose speeds are measured in millions of miles per day, to navigate the delicate distance between orbit and surface. Obviously, the typical ether propeller is hardly sensitive enough for such precise maneuvers, and only the very best pilots will even attempt a landing on a vacuum world like Luna. (Space: 1889, p. 135)
Earthmen on Luna
Luna was first visited by Sir William Otterbein in an ether flyer designed by himself and his Italian assistant, Luigi Piachetti, and financed by his estates and by industrialists in London wishing to find cheap sources of iron ore. Otterbein managed to land his flyer in Mare Imbrium without significant damage. He and his assistant then set out to establish that Luna does suffer from “Moonquakes,” that the surface, at least in the so-called “seas,” is very duty and difficult to traverse, that the surface gravity is quite low, and that there is no atmosphere. After his return trip, analysis of samples found them almost barren of useful materials, and Otterbein’s industrial backers pulled their support out from under him. He never returned to Luna. Others have, however, including Brian Masterly of Great Britain, the Davis brothers of Philadelphia, and Vladimir Tereshkoff of Russia. The latter made a total of five trips to Luna for the Tsar, the final one (from which he never returned) in 1887. All the scientific data gathered have confirmed suspicions that Luna is of little value. No permanent facilities exist on Luna, and by 1889, visits there are extremely infrequent. (Space: 1889, p. 135)
Land of the Moon Men
The land of the Moon Men lies in a very large (roughly 300 miles in diameter) spherical cavern deep inside the Moon. It can be reached by way of the 60-mile deep Great Canyon on the far side of the Moon, which terminates in a series of waterfalls and a large underground river. This river, after flowing through several winding passages and large bays, empties into the land of the Moon Men.
The spherical chamber is actually a very flattened sphere that is half-full of water. Around the edges of the chamber are several shelves of rock and lunar soil which gently slope down to the water’s edge. The Moon Men live on these shelves, farming mushrooms, raising herds of hummas_, and fishing the Great Sea. The ceiling is several miles high above the center of the sea. (_Conklin’s Atlas of the Worlds, p. 78)
The land of the Moon Men has a very active water cycle, which can be viewed as beginning at the Great Canyon (that 60-mile-deep gash in the surface of the far side of the Moon). Several miles above the canyon floor, numerous streams and creeks empty from the rock walls and form cascading waterfalls which combine to form solid walls of thundering water at the bottom. These waterfalls feed into a large underground river, called the River of Life by the Moon Men, which winds through a series of snaking passages and large connected spherical chambers until it finally empties into the Great Sea. The water then flows through more passages further down until it reaches the Maw of Heaven, a large whirlpool over a vertical passage, which allows the water to drain into more passages further below. These passages lead to the still-molten center of the world where the water is explosively converted to steam. The steam vents upward through an entirely different set of chimneys and winding passages, one of which passes through a set of caverns connected with the spherical cavern containing the Great Sea. This cavern is called the Mother of Waters by the Moon Men. Eventually, the steam cools and condenses into water which feeds the system of streams and creeks several miles above. These flow toward and drain into the Great Canyon, thus starting the cycle over again.
The Moon Men had, at one time, explored all the connecting chambers up to the Maw of Heaven, but they have now forgotten about the underwater passages leading to it from the Great Sea. A small, forgotten colony of Moon Men lives on an island in the large cavern containing the Maw of Heaven. Navigation near the whirlpool itself is very dangerous. (Conklin’s Atlas of the Worlds, p. 78)
Moon Men (called Dobrates in the new Space: 1889 and Beyond books, and there posited to have originally inhabited ((Planet X))) are actually descendents of the long-destroyed planet Vulcan, but they have forgotten their origins. The most striking difference from humans is their pale, almost translucent skin, which shows an elaborate network of veins and arteries, and a hint of the muscles working below the surface. Their skin has a faintly bluish cast, and is rough and scaly in texture. They are about man-size, perhaps a bit taller, but appear shorter as they are somewhat stooped. (Conklin’s Atlas of the Worlds, p. 78)
These people are in fact the last remnants of the race which inhabited the planet Vulcan before its destruction. Their city was originally a secret base with the personnel in suspended animation. With their homeworld destroyed the signal to wake never came, and instead they began waking up as their long-sleep devices failed several thousand years ago. (Tales from the Ether, “River of Life”, p. 35, sidebar “The Science Priests of Luna”)
Armies and Cities of the Moon Men
The Moon Men inhabit a large (several hundred miles across) cavern deep beneath the surface of the moon. While the City of Light and Science has troops armed with relics of an ancient technology, the other cities are iron-age civilizations using edged weapons, bows and catapults. (Soldier’s Companion, p. 163)
All 11 named settlements on the map are independent city-states. All cities and towns are walled to keep out the large predators that roam the area of the Great Sea, particularly caterpillars. The greatest threat to the cities is from giant sea turtles which occasionally emerge from the water and attack settlements. These must be fought off with catapults. (Conklin’s Atlas of the Worlds, p. 78)
Brantu is an island city-state which relies on its fleet to control commerce through the Brantu Straits. It generally levies a tariff on commerce and a tax on fishermen, and enforces this with its navy. (Some of the other city states consider this to be little more than extortion bordering on piracy.) All of the city’s catapults are mounted either on its wall or on ships. Brantu relies mostly on its navy for defense, and has a fairly small army, all of which is trained to fight on shipboard as marines, as well as manning city defenses. (Soldier’s Companion, p. 163)
City of the Fishermen
The City of the Fishermen makes its living primarily, as its name suggests, by fishing. Its citizens are not a warlike people and take pains not to antagonize their neighbors the Science Priests (of the City of Light and Science). (Soldier’s Companion, p. 164)
City of the Hills
Santam, the Warlord of the Hills, has taken the tough, hearty hillmen of the central part of the peninsula and turned them into a military force worthy of concern. Santam managed to unite the scattered bands of hill bandits and organize their activities so that he has developed a virtual stranglehold on overland trade and appears ready to attempt the conquest of First Town. (Soldier’s Companion, p. 164)
City of Iron
The Ironmen are excellent miners and smelters, and alone among the cities of Luna have luxurious quantities of meat, tools and armor. Paparatoomu, the chairman of the Civic Council, has spent the last two years training and drilling the city’s army, alarmed at the growth of Santam’s power to the south. (Soldier’s Companion, p. 164)
The City of Light and Science
Of all the cities of the Moon Men, only the City of Light and Science retains a residue of the advanced technology of the Moon Men’s Vulcan ancestors. These artifacts are now the objects of religious veneration, and the city is autocratically governed by the Science
Priests, with dissenters and heretics locked in the city’s dungeons or sent to the penal island upriver.
The City of Light and Science has a fleet of six unarmed submarines, which are still capable of ramming and sinking most surface craft. It also has 24 electric motorboats — most are used for fishing, but a few are used as coastal patrol vessels. Soldiers are armed with electric rifles, described to the right, while the walls of the city are guarded
by 13 gun towers, each with an electric cannon. These function exactly as described in the basic game under “Inventions” and have a reliability number of 4. The city has a very small armed force, most of which is actually armed police and prison guards, not soldiers in the true sense of the word. While there are occasional armed clashes
between the other cities, the technological might of the Science Priests has discouraged any would-be attackers, and the Science Priests have no interest in extending their influence beyond their city. (Conklin’s Atlas of the Worlds, p. 80)
The City of Light and Science, ruled by a council of Science Priests, has little need for an army beyond internal security functions. Its soldiers are policemen or gunners on the lightning cannons that guard the walls. (Soldier’s Companion, p. 165)
Relying on its relative isolation from the other cities as its best defense, the inhabitants of Crescent City carry on a peaceful and friendly trade with the fishermen of Nicolan and the smiths of the City of Iron. (Soldier’s Companion, p. 165)
This coastal city is a major trading center and is particularly concerned both with Brantu’s increasing interference in naval commerce and the growing incidence of bandit raids on caravans bound for the City of Iron. (Soldier’s Companion, p. 165)
This inland city relies heavily on caravan trade, which has been virtually choked off by the hillmen. The defensive troops are now bracing themselves for an attack from the Warlord of the Hills. (Soldier’s Companion, p. 165)
This trading city has profited from First Town’s troubles and now virtually controls the overland trade to the City of Light and Science. Its new-found commercial strength has encouraged the oligarchs to take a stronger stand in territorial disputes with Seaside. (Soldier’s Companion, p. 165)
This isolated city state on the far coast has little contact with other cities. Fishermen ply the waters east of the archipelago, free from Brantu war galley harassment, and carry on commerce with merchants of Crescent. It has virtually no navy; its catapults are mounted on its city and town walls. (Soldier’s Companion, p. 166)
Fishing and farming are both important to Seaside, but its fishermen are harassed endlessly by war galleys and motorboats from Brantu while Junction City is pressing claims to strips of farmland between the two. (Soldier’s Companion, p. 166)